ACT Reading Practice Test 99: LITERARY NARRATIVE

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.


LITERARY NARRATIVE: Passage A is adapted from an essay
by Marita Golden. Passage B is adapted from an essay by Larry L. King. Both essays are from the book Three Minutes or Less: Life Lessons from America's Greatest Writers (©2000 by The PEN/Faulkner Foundation).

Passage A by Marita Golden
Writers are always headed or looking for home.
Home is the first sentence, questing into the craggy ter-
rain of imagination. Home is the final sentence, pol-
ished,perfected,nailed down.I am American writer.
5and so my sense of place 1s fluid, ever shifting. The
spaciousness of this land reigns and pushes against the
borders of self-censorship and hesitation. I have
claimed atone point or other everyplace as my home.

Like their creator, my fictional characters reject
10the notion of life lived on automatic pilot. The most
important people in my books see Jife as a flame, some-?
thing that when lived properly bristles and squirms,
even as it glows. In the autobiography Migrations of the
Heart, the heroine, who just happened to be me, came
15of age in Washington, D.C., and began the process of
becoming an adult person everywhere else.If You sell
your first piece of writing in Manhattan, give birth to
your only child in Lagos, experience Paris in the spring.
with someone you love, and return to Washington after
20thirteen years of self-imposed exile to write the Wash-
inton bovel nobody else had( and you thought you
never would!tickeet,visas lingua franca will all
become irrelevant .When all places finger print the
which grasp is judged to be the strongest?In my novel
25A Woman's Place, one woman leaves America to
JOtn a liberation struggle in Africa. In Long Distance
Life, Naomi Johnson flees 1930s North Carolina and
comes up south to Washington, D.C .. to find and make
way. Thirty years later her daughter: returns to that her comp-
30lex, unpredictable geography and ts sculpted like some
unexpected work of art by the civil-rights movement.)

I am a Washington writer, who keeps one bag in
the closet packed, just in case. I am an American. who
knows the true color of the nation's culture and its
35heart, a stubborn, wrenching, rainbow. I am Africa's
yearning stepchild, unforgotten, misunderstood, neces-
sary. Writers are always headed or looking for home.
The best of us embrace and rename it when we get
there.

Passage B by Larry L. King

40If you live long enough, and I have, your sense of
place or your place becomes illusionary. In a changing
world, our special places are not exempt. The rural
Tcxas where I grew up in the 1930s and 1940s simply
does not exist anymore. It exists only in memory or on
45pages or stages where a few of us have attempted to
lock it in against the ravages of time. And It is, of
course. a losing battle. Attempting to rhyme my work
of an earlier Texas, with the realities of today's urban-
tangle Texas, I sometimes feel that I am writing about
50pharaohs.

My friend Larry McMurtry a few years ago stirred
up a Texas tornado with an essay in which he charged
that Texas writers stubbornly insist on writing of old
Texas. the Texas of myth and legend, while shirking our
55responsibilities to write of the complexities of modern
Texas. Hardly had the anguished cries of the wounded
faded away on the Texas wind, until Mr. McMurtry
himself delivered a novel called Lonesome Dove. A
cracking good yarn, if a bit Jong on cowboy myths and
60frontier legends. And decidedly short of skyscraper
observations or solutions to urban riddles. But not only
did Larry McMurtry have a perfect right to change his
mind, I'm delighted that he did.

I spent my formative years in Texas, my first sev-
65enteen years. before random relocation arranged by the
U.S. Army. Uncle Sam sent me to Queens. I must
admit, Queens failed to grow on me. But from it I dis-
covered Manhattan, which did grow on me, and I
vowed to return to Manhattan. And one day did. But before
70that, in 1954, at the age of twenty-five, I came
to Wash?ington, D.C., to work in Congress.

New York and Washington offered themselves as
measuring sticks against the only world I had previ-
ously known. They permitted me to look at my natural
75habitat with fresh eyes and even spurred me to leave my
native place. I have now tarried here in what I call the
misty East for almost forty years. This has sometimes
Led to a confusion of place. I strangely feel like a Texan
in New York and Washington. but when I return home
80to Texas, I feel like a New Yorker or a Washingtonian.
So if my native place has been guilty of change, then so
have I. Yet when I set out to write there is little of
ambivalence. The story speaks patterns. and values that
pop out are from an earlier time and of my original
85place. I fancy myself a guide to the recent past. In an
age when the past seems not much value, I think that is
not a bad function for the writer.

1. According to Passage A, for the author of the passage, being an American writer means that her sense of place is:

A. deeply personal.
B. constantly shifting.
C. tied to her family.
D. somewhat irrelevant.

2. Which of the following statements regarding the pas-sage author's Washington novel is best supported by Passage A?

F. She wrote the novel about people she met while traveling.
G. She could not finish writing it.
H. She patterned it after other novels about Washing-ton, DC.
J. She thought that she would never write it

3. Based on how she presents herself in the third para-graph (lines 32-39), the author of Passage A can best be described as someone who:

A. overcame many obstacles before achieving success.
B. embraces the various elements of her identity.
C. gets inspiration from people and everyday things.
D. found a place to live that suits her personality.

4. The "losing battle" in line 47 of Passage B most nearly refers to the passage author's efforts to:

F. inspire a new generation of Texas authors to write about their home state.
G. understand the lives of those who lived in 1930s and 1940s rural Texas.
H. preserve 1930s and 1940s rural Texas through his writing.
J. find new ways to write about his childhood.

5. In the context of Passage B, when the passage author states, "I sometimes feel that I am writing about pharaohs" (lines 49-50), he most nearly means that he feels as if he is writing about:

A. a well-known subject.
B. an influential time period.
C. powerful tyrants.
D. the distant past.

6. Based on Passage B, McMurtry's comment that Texas authors write about old Texas too much was received with what can best be described as:

F. ambivalence; several writers had already written books that followed McMurtry's suggestion.
G. indignation; most writers thought McMurtry was a hypocrite because of Lonesome Dove.
H. displeasure; many writers openly disagreed with McMurtry's suggestion.
J. surprise; many writers didn't know that McMurtry cared about Texas literature.

7. As it is used in line 85, the word fancy most nearly means:

A. consider.
B. theorize.
C. enjoy.
D. favor.

8. It can reasonably be inferred from the passages that, regarding its effect on their lives, both passage authors would agree that leaving their native places:

F. led to their deciding to move away permanently.
G. influenced them to write about visiting new places.
H. changed their perspectives about home.
J. showed them the value of family.

9. The passages most strongly indicate that in their vari-ous moves, both passage authors have:

A. resided in Washington, DC.
B. written novels while living in New York City.
C. relocated because of the military.
D. lived in places outside of the United States

10. Which of the following statements best compares the concluding lines of the passages?

F. Both passages end with the authors describing how they see their roles as writers.
G. Both passages end with the authors emphasizing the importance that history has for writers.
H. The author of Passage A describes her characters, whereas the author of Passage B emphasizes the value of home.
J. The author of Passage A describes her approach to starting new books, whereas the author of Passage B explains why his sense of place is illusionary.